DANVILLE – Another question faces the application process of Vermilion County’s second wind farm.
Scheduling problems prevented company representatives from GDF SUEZ Energy North America Inc. from attending the Vermilion County Board meeting Tuesday, during which board members were expected to vote on the company’s wind farm permit application.
During that meeting, District 2 board member Kevin Green pointed out the company had not obtained a Natural Resource Information report from the Soil and Water Conservation District in Vermilion County. The report, he noted, was necessary by state law.
Stephen Miller is a resource conservationist for the Soil and Water Conservation District and conducts the reports. According to Miller, state law indicates a wind turbine company should request a report around the same time it applies to the county. Other than that, no specific timeline is expected, he said.
A report was filed by Invenergy, the company behind the California Ridge wind farm approved last year by the county, Miller said.
Bill Donahue, an assistant state’s attorney who has worked with the wind turbine projects, said Wednesday that GDF SUEZ Energy North America Inc. officials have been approached informally about the issue. Company officials told the county they would pursue the report as they near construction.
Donahue pointed out the requirement falls under state law, not under the auspices of the county’s wind farm ordinance.
“There may be things (the company) has to do outside the ordinance,” he said.
Donahue also noted the information report was not brought forward as a suggested addition when the county put the ordinance out for public display for 30 days in 2009. Other items, including a consultation with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources suggested by the state, were added during that time.
The county wind ordinance is in essence a building permit that – when approved – gives the company permission to build in the county, which does not have zoning.
According to Miller, the report looks at a number of items including the corrosive properties of the soil where turbines are to be placed and the proximity of planned roads to the county’s flood plains.
“You don’t want to build a windmill in the middle of a waterway or a swamp,” Green said, calling the report a “safeguard.”
Green told board members Tuesday he would consider the application incomplete and vote against it unless the company filed a Natural Resource Information report.
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